Beth Hall became one of two students at Carmel College, Darlington, to receive the John Caden Cup, awarded in memory of the late priest and chairman of governors.
Beth, and schoolmate Amy Harris received the award in recognition of their contribution to school life.
For Beth the award was particularly poignant as Father Caden had converted her grandmother Anne Shanley to the Catholic faith and conducted her first communion.
Her mother Clare Hall said: “We can’t wait to tell Anne, she will be so thrilled. My dad is a committed Catholic and Father Caden used to call my mum his oldest convert.”
Beth, 17, of Trimdon, who has just had an interview at the Royal Veterinary College, London, said: “I was so shocked when they called out my name. For me to receive this award is such a privilege.”
Amy, 17, of Darlington, who hopes to work in Spain one day, added: “I have been at Carmel College since Year 7 and love it.”
Chief executive officer of Carmel Education Trust Maura Regan said: “Father Caden was a great man, chairman of governors and priest; the sort of person you are lucky to meet once in a lifetime. Both students are deserved winners of his cup.”
The trophy was presented at a glittering awards evening that celebrated the academic, sporting and community successes of Year 13 students.
Ms Regan told a packed audience of friends and family: “This particular year group has bridged the gap of my headship at Carmel and is one I remember the most.
“They are outstanding in every way and they achieved the best ever A Level results for the college, with 60 per cent securing A*-B grades.
“It is an outstanding college because of the commitment of its staff. They go the extra mile, ensure that school life is rich in experiences and set aspirational targets so students can achieve their very best.”
Guest speaker Darlington’s MP Jenny Chapman said the college was the envy of the town.
She told students: “The qualifications that you worked so hard for are yours forever. I know how hard you worked for them and how hard your parents have worked for you.
“The secret ingredient is great leadership and this college is outstandingly well led by Ms Regan.”
She said as well as succeeding academically the college also ensured that its students were nurtured to care for each other and the community in which they lived.
“Take advantage of the preparation you have had at Carmel College,” she said. “Go out and make the right choices, big and small, so you can be the best you can be. You have earned the right to feel proud of yourselves.”
A vote of thanks was given by the current head boy Simon Reeves and head girl Stella Whitten before the evening was brought to a close with a performance of the staff choir.
Outstanding Achievement in Art, Devan Storey
James Corr Prize for Best A Level Results, James Swainston, Emma Morrison, Rachel Gunnell
Biology, Nathan Place and Rachel Gunnell
Business Studies, Zoe Bell
Chemistry, Emma Morrison
Childcare, Learning and Development, Lauren Bellas
Electronics, James Swainston
English Language, Emily Hunter
English Literature, Amelia Hughes
Geography, Nicholas Rowland
Health & Social Care, Sophie Metcalfe
History, Connor McGee
ICT Award, Louise Spence
Creative ICT Award, Leonard Beadle
Mathematics, Michael Skingley
Media Studies, Louise Alexander
Modern Foreign Languages, Rebecca Mitchell
Music, Shannon Webb
Music Technology, Aaron Wong
Photography, Alannah Newnham
Physics, James Swainston
Psychology, Amy Potts
Public Services, Martin McSherry
Technology Award, Thomas Stacey
Religious Studies, Henry Ford
Sociology, Emily Alderson
Physical Education, Olly Telfer
Art Textiles, Zoe Bell/Sarah Walker
Head Boy and Head Girl award – Catherine Lavender and Daniel Gibbs.